There were already several hints that YouTube was getting more serious about podcasts, after reports indicated the company hired a podcast executive, Kai Chuk, to lead its efforts in the space and had even begun offering cash to popular podcasters to film their shows. Now, a leaked document has unveiled more about YouTube’s plans in this area, pointing to a future podcasts homepage on YouTube.com and other monetization features.
The details were published by Podnews, which recently got its hands on an 84-page presentation where YouTube described its podcasts roadmap. Here, the company says it will improve podcast ingestion by piloting the ability to pull in podcast RSS feeds. It also noted it plans to centralize podcasts on a new homepage at YouTube.com/podcasts. The URL doesn’t yet work; but it also doesn’t automatically redirect to the YouTube homepage — which is what it does if you put other random words after the slash.
Not surprisingly, Google sees podcasts as a way to expand its advertising business on YouTube. The document suggests YouTube will feature audio ads sold by Google as well as other partners. It mentions the support of “new metrics” designed for audio-first creators and the ability to integrate YouTube data into industry-standard podcast measurement platforms. One page shows brands like Nielsen, Chartable, and Podtrac listed as partners.
The addition of a new “podcasts” vertical to YouTube would be a logical next step for the company.
Over the years, YouTube has highlighted the service’s larger content categories by giving them their own homepages, as it did with YouTube Gaming back in 2015 and with YouTube Fashion (now Fashion & Beauty) in 2019. Plus, YouTube content helps to power Google’s music streaming service, YouTube Music, which competes with other services like Spotify, where podcasts are a competitive advantage.
Spotify has been looking to dominate the podcast advertising market and has made several acquisitions to bring related adtech in-house. As a result, Spotify has since been able to sell its own ads, introduce streaming ad insertion technology, launch its own audio ad marketplace, and is trying out new ad formats. Meanwhile, as a video-centric platform, YouTube has been left out of much of this ad market growth.
Podnews didn’t publish the full document and it’s not clear when the document was first produced or distributed, given references to launches that are listed as coming “in 2022” and the mention of Chartable, a company Spotify acquired last month. YouTube didn’t comment to Podnews, per its article. We’ll update if a comment is provided to us.